My students need a safe and inviting space to engage in literature of their choice. This will create personalized learning opportunities, and allow for creating connections with the outside world.
I am an ESL teacher in an urban school who supports English classes for grades 9-12. The reading abilities of my students vary greatly and I have observed that many of my students find reading to be daunting and a task which they are not willing to engage with either in class or outside of class. As a result, I have observed that many of students are failing two or more core subjects, falling into the category of disengaged. When working with my students on literacy in small groups or individually, however, I have noticed that they are more willing to take risks and engage in literature discussions. While these moments prove to be successful, unfortunately many of my students also struggle with attendance for a number of reasons, and about 50% of them attend fewer than 85% of school days. I know that my students have the intrinsic motivation to do well however at times they need a little push. Their untapped potential needs to be unlocked and reengagement through literature is critical.
Reading allows students to explore worlds outside of their own and serves as a way to empower, inspire, and re-engage. Many of my students have not yet discovered how enjoyable reading can be and creating a safe, cozy and welcoming space that invites students to engage with a book of their choice is the goal of this project. Allowing students to explore their own interests personalizes their learning experiences, a proven strategy to foster reengagement of previously disengaged students. The materials required to re-imagine my classroom space will create an atmosphere of tranquility, where students can escape from the demands on their everyday lives and explore their interests through literary exploration, while simultaneously building literary skills. This space will help students independently engage with literature, both text and audio (via a Chromebook), and will promote student engagement in academic courses and increases confidence in their academic abilities. With creating a more intimate, comfortable, and cozy space, anxiety levels will lower and students will be more likely to attend school and take risks, building relationships and connections with teachers and their peers. Aside from being a safe and welcoming environment, my room will also serve as a study space where students who are failing two or more classes can come to complete digital and written class assignments in peace and quiet.
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